Feb 27, 2015

One Month Outtakes

It's Friday.

Maybe you need a laugh... or a cry.

Let's just say, here at the Hess House we understand that sometimes things don't work out quite like you planned...

Here ya go, a couple of our one month photo shoot outtakes.

Happy Friday.

Feb 25, 2015

Lincoln: One Month

December 2014

Little One,

Today you are one month old. Technically you are only four weeks old, but I would say it counts. And the funny thing is, today was your due date.

The doctors said you were supposed to arrive on December 2nd. And then, because of Hannah, they said if you didn't come by November 25th, they'd give you a nudge out. But you and God had other plans and so today, we celebrate one month old you an entire month 'early.'

You are growing so very fast. The thin little legs with all the extra skin are filling in quickly. The newborn footie pajama that you've lived in over the past month are getting just a bit too short. Just the other day, I went to put on the outfit you wore home from the hospital and it was too small. You now weigh nine pounds and I can't believe it. My little one, you are growing.

Your crying has turned to smiles although your smile is more of a coincidence than really smiling at anything. I love your smiles, although I do miss what we called your 'singing cry.' When you were first born and most sad your cries sounded like a lady singing opera and I never did take the time to capture it on video. Probably because when you cried like that, it broke my heart and all I wanted to do was hold you.

You like it when you and I play with our 'piggie' finger puppets and sing The Little Piggies by Joe Scruggs. The song is different from the one most people grew up singing, but this is the one I grew up singng and I'm glad that you like it too. You love tummy time as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror, but most of all you love 'your birdies.' Your bouncer has little birdies hanging on it and you stare at those like you love them most in the world. Sometimes the blue one and sometimes the pink one, just depends on the day.

Right now we feed you every two and a half hours. The other mothers ask why you are on a schedule and then I tell them about your newborn screening. I tell them about how we have to wake you up in the night and feed you. As least until we get more test results. Maybe us waking you is why you love a schedule so very much, but it's like clockwork when you are hungry. Exactly two and a half hours, down to the exact minutes, we know you'll be hungry. It almost makes me look like a wizard or something when I can point to you right before you start crying.

It's incredible how I can look at you now, outside my tummy and see the things you were doing while inside. You get the hiccups almost constantly and I remember feeling those hiccups as I walked around with you in my belly. You love to tilt your head back and you get quite fussy when someone 'makes you' pick it up when you sleep. I remember that, my pelvis will forever remember that, I'm not sure it will ever be the same.

You are quite happy, but also quite gassy. You, sir, know how to smell up a room. And yes, that makes you appear to be a 'fussy' baby sometimes, but we know better. We help you as much as we can and when all else fails we snuggle you close and make sure everyone knows it was you. Yes babies can make those sounds, and your daddy and I love to lay you on our chest and let you sleep off your little, loud tummy..

Most of all I want you to know how much we love you. I could tell you the stories of how much sleep we've lost. I could tell you how setting an alarm to wake in the middle of the night is making us oh so very tired. But you're worth it. I love you sweet boy. I love to press my cheek next to yours and I love when you nuzzle your face right into the curve of my neck and let out a sigh like you've been working all your life to get to that very moment.

I breathe you in. I love you every minute. And at night when I sing you to sleep with the songs of the musicals and movies I love dearly, we end with 'Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, and Jesus loves you most of all.'

Happy One Month, buddy. You have no idea how much you have brought into this home and this heart with your little life.

Love you always,

Feb 23, 2015

Who does he look like?

Everyone asks.

And I don't quite know the answer. Or at least I didn't until today.

When people would ask I really did try to figure it out.

"Who does he look like?"

I searched through old pictures of both me and Kyle. I considered that maybe Lincoln even looked like one of my siblings or one of my in-laws. I poured through the fifteen thousand pictures I already have of this little boy. I compared smiles and eyes and mouths and noses.

It seemed that everyone that knew Kyle would say they thought Lincoln looked like him. But then the ones that knew me best would say that of course, he looked most like me.

We settled a bit that he had Kyle's eyes and that he surely had my smiles. He looks so very familiar, but I still wasn't sure.

And then today I thought about our sweet Hannah. And while looking at Lincoln, I couldn't seem to remember what she looked like. Quickly I opened pictures of our little girl and I remembered. Her sweet little lips and that cute nose.

And that's when I realized,

He looks like her.

Lincoln looks like Hannah.

He didn't at first. He was much too skinny to look like her. But then as he filled out he had reminded me of her once before. But now, with Lincoln asleep in my arms, his face so very relaxed, his lips so tiny and so pink, he looks like his sister.

No, they may not share the same smile or the same cries or laughs. Because I'll never know what Hannah's smile looked like or how her voice would have come to life.

But as I look at Lincoln, he is the reason I couldn't remember what she looked like. Because, to me, he looks so very much like her.

So who, who does he look like?

He looks like his sister, who yes, like Lincoln, was a wonderful little mix of both me and her daddy.

And it makes my heart happy to know that as I see Lincoln grow, there's little bits of her in him. That, every day I do get to learn a little more about her through him. Like when  Lincoln's geneticist who looked at him, and then Kyle and I and said, "oh, of course Lincoln will have blue eyes. All your babies will.'

And that's when he didn't know he answered a question I'd been wondering for over a year now, not about our future babies, but about our past.

What color were her eyes? I had often wondered.

And now I know, blue. Just like Lincoln.

Oh how could I ask for anything more than what the Lord has already so graciously given in this world where I am truly blessed.

Feb 18, 2015

Lincoln: The Not-so Weekly Pictures

After weekly updates while pregnant, you'd think I'd have weekly updates of real live baby things. You see all these super great weekly pictures of babies around the interwebs and you'd think I had something planned...

But the first few weeks and now months of motherhood have taught me a few things. One being that babies don't exactly leave moms with tons of spare time. Well, they sleep all day in the beginning, fool you into thinking you'll have lots of spare time, and then not so much. I do love it. I love how every day Lincoln is awake a little more and that means we can play! But it seems to leave little time for weekly fancy photo shoots and detailed writing about the happenings of the week.

If you are one of those moms who does weekly photos, more power to you. I am very impressed, and you are a rock star. Or maybe your baby is just always wearing their best outfit and that chair you sit them in has great lighting at all times of the day.

That's just not the case here at the Hess House.

We travel, we poop on our clothes (well one of us), we wear outfits after they have spit up on them, and we don't always have on our white onesie. Okay we never do, those things are so thin and just asking for stains. But we have our phone cameras out all the time, and so yes, we do have thousands, yes, thousands of pictures of our little man.

But I don't have weekly pictures for you. I started out and got the first four weeks. And although the photo shoots weren't a complete disaster these were the quick pictures from my phone. Don't get me wrong, Lincoln is suuuuuper cute, but he wouldn't look at me to save his life...

Then life got a little busier. I also found out that while my kid takes the very best smiley pictures, when I put him in a onesie and lay him down on the bed the smile disappears. He looks away, gets a bit fussy and actually sometimes frowns at me.

And so I decided to let go a little bit. I decided that the world wouldn't end if I didn't get the weekly picture. And so I skipped a week.

And then I panicked.

I missed a week! I could never go back! What had I done?

But then I came to my senses and realized that I am a good mom.

Even if I don't take weekly pictures of my kid. Even if I don't put him in the white onesie with the cute sticker. Even if he doesn't have the most perfect smile in every picture.

I'm still a good mom.

So here at the Hess House we spend the little wake time we have together playing and singing and dancing and learning. And we spend a little less time taking posed pictures.

Unless, of course, you are talking about monthly pictures, and in that case, we do.

Because this kid really is too cute to not have a photo session at least monthly, right?

Feb 16, 2015

Three Blue Drawers

I wonder if the term 'nesting' applies to non-pregnant women.

Because for the first time in almost two year I've been unpregnant for three entire months and all of a sudden I've got the urge to clean/repair/redo every inch of our tiny house. Maybe first I should double-check the 'unpregnant thing' but I'm pretty sure it has to do with the weather.

See I'm a list maker, you all know that.

You know because I make lists of the projects I plan to do around the house and then you get to see, oh, one or two of them take shape. I may or may not be known to my husband as one who makes list, buys supplies, starts project, and then needs lots of his help to complete said project in a timely manner.

I may or may not have decided to repair, putty, and paint our main bathroom door a week before Thanksgiving last year. You know, with a 2.5 week old and family coming into town I decided that the most important thing was the bathroom door. I was one coat away from finished when the family arrived, and so for the last two months we've stared at the almost painted 'looks like a horrible paint job' door with only one coat of paint on it.

I may have a reputation.

But if you're not convinced let me tell you about the desk. The one I've had forever. The one I wanted to paint white, then the one I wanted to paint a pretty blue. The one that I cleaned and repaired and taped off. Well, maybe you know it as the one with the three blue drawers.

Yep. I painted those puppies while pregnant last year. I meant to do the desk before the baby came but I hit a few dilemmas. See I wasn't allowed to lift heavy things so I could only lift the drawers when Kyle was travelling for work. So I painted them. Except for that one drawer because I had to wood glue it together and the glue hadn't dried when I painted the others. And then when Kyle was in town I just wanted to snuggle with him instead of paint. And then it got too cold to paint because I was using spray paint and then I had a baby...

So the desk is in use. It's in the middle of our living room. And it's got the three blue drawers. When people ask I just reply, 'oh that's the color I'll be painting the entire desk. What do you think?' and then they compliment me on my color choice. They don't know the entire story. I've actually considered leaving the desk like that forever because it could be a great conversation piece, but maybe not.

So now with my new 'the weather is great and so I want to tackle all the projects' unpregnant nesting going on I have to think this through. I only pretend to have free time, so project time is really just a fantasy.

So I've come up with a system, just in case there is someone else out there with this same problem. It's a basic reward system. I've got the projects I need to do and then the projects I want to do.

Current Needs:
1. Repair the gaping hole in the caulking in the shower wall before water gets inside
2. Repair the places the grout is falling out of the other bathroom wall before water gets inside
3. Rake the leaves so the yard is ready for pre-emergent in the battle against the crabgrass
4. Spread the pre-emergent (when it's time)
5. Paint the last coat on the main bathroom door so we don't look too crazy

Current Wants:
(This one could go on forever, but I'll stick to the ones that I'm using now, and wait on the ones that require warm temperatures like the blue drawer desk...)
1. Paint the bathroom white instead of the off-ish white that looks like dirty walls
2. Put down that wood vinyl plank stuff in the bathroom to hide the previous peel and stick job

See, pretty simple. So then what I did was I set myself up for success. When (not if) I get the first five items completed on the Needs list, then I can run to the store and buy the paint for the bathroom and paint it! Right?

So I'm pretty pumped and way motivated.

I went to the store and got my shower repair equipment today. And it if weren't for the crazy lady who thought yelling "boo!" at my baby and throwing her hands in the air to "try to scare him" (her words), then maybe my kid wouldn't have been too freaked out to nap after he cried all the way home.

Any way, crazy people. I am one of them. And now I'm going to go repair the shower, you know, after I'm done watching Lincoln sleep. Because today, after 'the scare' he really only wants to sleep on cushy non-approved safe baby sleeping surfaces and I need to make sure he's breathing.

And because he's cute.

Feb 6, 2015


As the world ran around buying workout clothes and gym memberships and new tennis shoes, I made resolutions too. As grocery stores filled their shelves with vegetables and 100-calorie packs of everything, I too was thinking about the new year.

Yes, this year I would like to move more and eat better, but my planning for the year took a bit longer.

This year I've got a baby.

A real, live baby.

And I take each of those words quite seriously. This year I have a real baby, not just one I've dreamt about for years. This year I have a live baby, one that still lives and breathes and looks back at me into my eyes and straight into my soul.

And this year I've got a new job.

I'm now what you would call a stay-at-home-mom, a manager of the home, a domestic engineer, a household CEO. And man this is what I was built for.

But this year also I have new ambitions.

The world around me moves so very quickly that I must take the time to consider how every moment is spent. I could let my days waltz so easily by me and look back in five years and wonder where I am. Or I could take this time, in January, at this new beginning in life to consider the possibilities.

So this year I've spent January reading, praying, writing and planning.

My favorite book so far is The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst, even if I've only had time to read the first few chapters. The book speaks of all the things I've been thinking about and more.

And so with this new time. Not that I'll pretend to have any more time than before, but with this new chance for new beginnings I've been careful with my "yes." I've said "no" to many things and yet I still find myself quite busy.

I don't just go around saying "no" so that I'll have plenty of free time or me time; but it's a very thought out "no" or more so that every "yes" I give has been carefully considered. If I say yes to everything the world asks of me I'll be exhausted in less than a minute and, well, with less than adequate nighttime sleep, I may only make it thirty seconds, really.

What has the Lord called me to do with this time in my life?

I'll say yes to those things.

Not that everything says "Hello! I Love Jesus and this is a big deal!" But sometimes it means laundry or dishes or poopy diapers, it's not all glamor. But in the world of poopy diapers, I have less time. In a world where I no longer have a "full-time job" I still have less time. I'm sure that in your world the time does in fact seem less and less every year too. Are we saying "yes" to the things that take that precious time away from the things we are called to do?

My relationship with the Lord and the outpouring and service from that relationship is a priority I'm surely called to. My relationship with my husband, my relationship with my son, my relationship with family and friends, and the things that I do to take care of those people are the heart and soul of who I am. But life offers so much more, and I do want to take hold of the other things, and take time to figure out where I spend my time.

So rather than taking on everything in life, rather than saying yes to everything that anyone asks of me, I'm thinking and wondering and praying about the things the Lord has called me to do. Maybe I will look back in five years and say, "yes, this is what the Lord has called me to, I spent the time he gave me wisely" instead of looking back and wondering where all the hours, and days, and week wondered off to.

So for now:

1. God
2. Kyle
3. Lincoln
4. Friends and Family

And then, as much as it scares me to even say it out loud, and to type it on a page, quite possibly:

5. Writing

Maybe just maybe I could make time for writing, for more writing, for better writing. But oh to say it loud is scary, to tell the world of my dreams means I'll really have to give it a go.

Is it something I want to do? Something I want to work on, to refine, to give my time? Something that I don't just let slip away this year because I was too busy with everything else?


Yes, actually.

Even though it scares me.

Feb 2, 2015

I Hope I Haven't Lost You

It has been quite the blessing to take the last month or so and be.

With the holidays we travelled and we travelled and then we travelled some more. Relishing in the days when our kiddo will still sleep in his car seat and let us lug him around the country.

With all the traveling came the people.

We saw the faces of our family that we hadn't seen in a few weeks, but with Lincoln growing so very quickly, seemed like years. Lincoln met his great-grandmothers for the very first time and I enjoyed so very much seeing their faces light up when they met him.

But I also got to meet so many of you.

Yes, you.

As I ducked into holiday parties and family gatherings, I heard so very many stories about you who take the precious time out of your day to read what I write here. In the past month I have met so many of you and heard so many stories and read so many text messages or Facebook messages or emails about you who read the things I write.

It blesses my heart.

I am pleased to know you. Whether you read the blog when my aunt asked you to make monogrammed burp cloths for me (they are beautiful, by the way) or whether you are a man who attended the men's conference last weekend with my husband. Whether you are a member of my father-in-law's church, whether you join us at family camp each summer, whether you work with my mom or you went to school with me.

Thank you for sharing with me that you read.

Thank you for telling me the stories that mean Hannah's life has touched your heart or the heart of someone very dear to you. Thank you for thanking me for being so very honest in a world where it seems the right thing is to hope to be seen as perfect. Thank you for 'listening' as I share what the Lord is teaching me as I walk through life as a wife, mother, and follower of Christ.

I've enjoyed the last month or so, but I've been writing. I've been praying and dreaming and planning (amongst all the spit up and baby cooing). I long to write something that I've been praying will touch your heart, will make you laugh, will show you God's love more deeply than you may have never known otherwise.

Thank you.

I hope, in this time of rest, that I haven't lost you.

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